It seems as though practically every blog I've visited in the past few days has had pictures of home canning posted. Pears at Wisteria's, talk of the pros and cons of freezing versus canning at JoVE's, lovely pictures of canned tomatoes and jam at More Friends and a Blog, and talk of deals and canning at NicolaKnits. So of course I HAVE to join the party, because I too have been canning.
And no, it isn't just because we're back on another Little House book, although that certainly intensifies things. Whenever we read this series, I've caught myself making steamed puddings, fruit tarts, bread, and freezing beans and peas from the garden. I'm pretty sure I've been bewitched by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As Richard says, there are worse things to be bewitched by.
Last night I made some marmalade (orange, lemon and grapefruit), mint jelly, and salsa. You can see them in the photo above. I went to bed last night to the sound of the lids sealing: pop, pop, pop. Sounds weird, but knowing that every jar sealed gave me the same feeling as when my ATM purchases are approved!
The marmalade uses the pectin in the peels to make it thick and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Not too tangy or bitter (must have been all that sugar). The mint jelly is a first, but we have an entire section of the garden devoted to mint (because we love it so much), and it occurred to me that some jelly might be an interesting way of preserving that wonderful taste over the winter. I wasn't going to colour it but FDPG was, err, assisting me last night and seemed genuinely distressed that the mint tea wasn't greener, so I let her add a drop of blue food dye to intensify the colour. There were only a few jars of salsa last night, not enough of my tomatoes are ripe just yet. The best part about the salsa is that it contains tomatoes, poblano chilies, green peppers, garlic and onions from my garden. I grew them all by my own self (a Max-ism).
So there you have it. Fresh from the garden. Ready to sit on the cold room shelves. Ready for the dark days of winter.